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VAs: Virtual Assistants

    • 18 posts
    October 11, 2012 5:48 PM EDT

    I had bad experiences with home-based Virtual Assistants before. They usually gave me lousy last-minute output so I decided to look for a company that provides office-based skillful VAs that are being monitored, assuring entrepreneurs like me that my VAs are being productive and are working full-time. A friend referred Hireinthephilippines.com to me and I'm currently working with one of their VAs. So far, I am happy with their work.

     

    I hope this information could help those who have VA problems. 

    • 18 posts
    October 11, 2012 5:34 PM EDT

    I had bad experiences with home-based Virtual Assistants before. They usually gave me lousy last-minute output so I decided to look for a company that provides office-based skillful VAs that are being monitored, assuring entrepreneurs like me that my VAs are being productive and are working full-time. A friend referred hireinthephilippines.com to me and I'm currently working with one of their VAs. So far, I am happy with their work.

    I hope this information could help those who have VA problems.   

  • October 27, 2006 9:07 AM EDT

    How true your thoughts are regarding the idea of "being" in the office to be able to handle the administrative tasks.

    It`s a mind shift of many that needs to formulate to understand that it`s not necessary to be next door at the desk to be able to handle the administrative tasks.  What I do now and much of what I did previously was still handled via email and phone calls with my managers.

    It`s important idea for people to remember that virtual assistants are also solo business people as well and no longer considered an employee of an organization, unless of course your a partner is a business handling the administrative aspect of it.

    Virtual Assistants can handle all aspects of the administration side of things for a business and likely be more efficient and not as costly as an "in-house" assistant because when a Virtual Assistant is working on a project their time is wholly dedicated to that project and not what`s going on around the water cooler.

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    Renee Shupe, Administrative Solutions Provider to Consultants, Entreprenuers & Business Professionals.   |    Managing the details so you don’t have to… www.ReneeShupe.ca | Virtual Assistance, have you got yours?

  • October 30, 2006 12:11 PM EST

    A key compenent when seeking at Virtual Assisstant is finding someone who fits your work style and is focused on assisting you achieve your priorities.  So while the hourly rate is certainly a consideration when looking to work with a Virtual Assistant, it`s certainly not the end of it.  There are so many other elements when seeking out a working relationship with another independent professional.

    Danielle posted a response earlier with a link to her article about what to look for when hiring a Virtual Assistant.  If you are considering hiring one, it`s definately worth a read, and of course I along with the other VAs would be happy to answer any other questions you may have. 

     

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    Renee Shupe, Administrative Solutions Provider to Consultants, Entreprenuers & Business Professionals.   |    Managing the details so you don’t have to… www.ReneeShupe.ca | Virtual Assistance, have you got yours?

  • October 31, 2006 7:17 AM EST

    Like Tawyna mentioned if I`m planning or unexpectantly am unavialable for a day I often won`t tell my clients (do they in turn tell me when they`re unavaiable for a day).  Most of the work I do for clients is not last minute tasks but longer term projects or ongoing administrative work that when you are proactive you can accomodate for time away.

    If I`m going on vacation or will be unavailable for a longer period of time I will have the discussion with my clients, ensure what needs to be done is handled and then follow up on my return.  Similar to other solo practitioners.  For key ongoing clients I offer two forms of back up;  access to another recommended Virtual Assistant and voicemail, if the other VA can`t handle what task needs to be done.

    But as mentioned most often the tasks can wait for my return.  It`s all about being proactive and planning as best one can.  Something everyone needs to think about is that a Virtual Assistant is not like an in-house employee but also an independent contractor much like any other solo entrepreneur. 

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    Renee Shupe, Administrative Solutions Provider to Consultants, Entreprenuers & Business Professionals.   |    Managing the details so you don’t have to… www.ReneeShupe.ca | Virtual Assistance, have you got yours?

  • November 2, 2006 4:28 AM EST

    Do any of  you specialize in assisting sales professionals? Such as sales reps that are on the road, in the field, all the time?

    If so, what is the average amount of time a week you assist each client? And, what would be an average weekly billing for one of these clients?

    Do any of you "specialize" in certain areas of business?

    Hi Keycon

    While at the moment most of my clients are local small businesses my background comes from  Sales, Marketing and Technology having worked with senior executives for various companies, most of the executives were on the road about 75% of the time.  While they were I would often manage the office, their schedule, presentations, correspondence, travel and any other administrative work that was necessary.

    Depending on the extent of service needed I could assistance for a "road-warrior" to be anywhere between 5 to 15 hours a week.  Tasks I would suggest handling for a sales professional would be management of promotional material, planning any tradeshows, booking and managing the travel (flights, hotel, car rentals, restaurant reservations etc.), development of presentations (both powerpoint and booking conference rooms), contact with clients while the sales person is on the road, as well as management of email and voicemail.

    My focus is working with solo business professionals (such as traveling sales personnel), small businesses and solo entrepreneurs.

    Hopefully that answered your questions, but if you want some further clarification feel free to message me or post another reply.

    Renee
    3Rs Business Solutions

    Administrative Solutions Provider

     

    VirtualAssistant2006-11-2 11:40:19

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    Renee Shupe, Administrative Solutions Provider to Consultants, Entreprenuers & Business Professionals.   |    Managing the details so you don’t have to… www.ReneeShupe.ca | Virtual Assistance, have you got yours?

    • 7 posts
    October 27, 2006 9:34 PM EDT
    Hi Tammy,

    I found that for some CEOs letting go can be hard, but once you`re able to do so, you will be so suprised and think to yourself, "Why didn`t I do this before? I have so much time to devote to my business now."

    A few things to keep in mind in considering a VA.

    1. Build rapport. There is a lot of VAs out there vying for your business. We all want to help you out, but there are some out there who may not have the experience, drive, desire that you are looking for in a team member. My suggestion is to interview them, speak with them on several occasions, and ensure some common ground between the two of you. A good VA will ask the right questions and feel the same way you do about your deadlines -- sometimes you’ll just feel it.

    2. Do your research. A VA should have several years of corporate/real-world experience. Additionally, it would be helpful if they can provide you with a list of references. If you want, and have time, give some of those people a call.

    3. Don`t settle. In my opinion, you`ll know when you find the right person. If it doesn`t feel right, keep looking. If you’ve contracted them for a month and it’s still not working, dissolve the relationship and try again. After all, this is your business and you have a lot riding on it.
    Believe it or not, Virtual Assistants can feel the same way you do -- if we come across a client that we`re unsure about, we won`t work with them. In short, we don`t settle either.

    4. Most important, Communication. This is a two-way street. Your VA will and should communicate with you and ensure her understanding of what you need done. Likewise, you should be communicating with her.

    Bottom line: it can work. Once you have a VA whom you begin to trust and you have a system going, you`ll find it easier and easier to delegate projects to her. Start off with something small, see how she handles that and see how you feel about giving it up. You don`t have to give up everything all at once, but if it works, you`ll find yourself giving up more than you ever thought you would and having time in your day to actually work on your core business rather than handling things such as bookkeeping, compiling marketing lists, or trying to figure out that dreaded mail merge system.

    Let me tell you, once you work with a good VA -- you`ll never be without one again! I`m sure there will be other VAs who may have some other advice, but those are just a few things that I can think of now.

    I wish you luck and if you have any other questions feel free to contact me. I`ll be happy to answer them.

    Good luck!

    Rebecca Kennedy
    Co-Owner
    www.EliteVAs.com

    EliteVAs2006-11-1 8:40:27

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    Elite Virtual Assistants, "Combining Today`s Technology with Yesterday`s Professionalism," Elite VAs

    • 7 posts
    October 30, 2006 10:14 AM EST
    Hi, Ciscocciein2006!

    In regards to you following questions:

    What are typical fees for a virtual assistant? This depends on what the project entails. A VA usually charges `roughly` $35 to $65 per hour -- again, depending on the project. Please keep in mind that you would only being paying for time worked. A VA tracks his/her time utilizing time tracking software and only charges you for actual time worked. Things such as employee benefits, taxes, office space, lunch, breaks, office equipment, health insurance and many other employee costs would never be included in a VA`s rate. I`m sure another VA can elaborate more on what I`ve just stated.

    Do VA`s juggle several businesses at once? If so how would they know which customer the incoming telephone call is for? Yes, we do juggle many other clients at once -- just as you would. In my business, I do not handle a client`s incoming telephone lines. Usually, it`s set up where I only have to manage a client`s customer service e-mails and Web site transactions. I can`t answer for other VAs, so they will have to elaborate.

    If you still have questions feel free to post them or e-mail us. I must say that my Web site can answer some of your questions, as well. Furthrmore, we would be happy to answer any of your questions via phone -- our number is listed on our contact page.

    I wish you the best! And thank you so much for your questions.

    Rebecca
    EliteVAs2006-10-30 17:16:12

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    Elite Virtual Assistants, "Combining Today`s Technology with Yesterday`s Professionalism," Elite VAs

    • 7 posts
    November 1, 2006 1:30 AM EST
    Another thing to mention is that VAs are available on a global basis, which means time differences used to an advantage.

    I read about a small financial consultancy, once, entering a bidding process for a very large contract. Their competition in the bidding had been all the large banks, but the company asking for bids took a risk, and opened the process to smaller companies.

    The small company had four partners, each of whom lived in "quarters" of the planet. To that end, partner 1 worked until 6pm, then handed off to partner 2, six hours behind in a different time zone. Then partner 2 handed off to three, then four.

    48 hours later, they had a completed bid proposal because they could work on it 24 hours per "day." The larger bank, when asked for their response, said they required at least six weeks to finish the proposal. It happens, I`m a night person, by nature.

    I tell people my office hours are from 2pm until 3am, Central US time. There are two advantages to clients. The first is that they can hand me projects at the end of their normal business day, and usually get the results in their system the next morning. Another advantage is that I can work in "real time" with people in Australia, India, and sometimes the UK.

    Very true, CraigL! Although there are not four of us, for example, my partner and I span the globe, as well. I am a military spouse located in Spain -- I will be returning to the states in 2008 -- but my partner is located in Kentucky. It works very well for us and we try to use my 6-hour time difference from the Eastern Standard Time to my client`s advantage. My partner can work on a project when it`s the end of my work day and I can finish up the project while she`s sleeping. In short, I am able to work on or finish up client projects and have them ready the next business morning, if necessary. It works out really well for us.

    Very good point! Thanks for bringing that up!

    Rebecca

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    Elite Virtual Assistants, "Combining Today`s Technology with Yesterday`s Professionalism," Elite VAs

    • 7 posts
    November 2, 2006 1:42 AM EST
    R@,

    Good day to you, as well!

    In my view, VAs are different in many respects. There are some who specialize in certain areas or sometimes it`s referred to as a niche or trade market, while others take a more general path until a niche has been discovered.

    In my experience and in my current business, we have clients who cross a broad spectrum of industries -- from clients in law, business coaching, Internet marketing, insurance, et cetera. I feel that it depends on the VA, where they feel more comfortable and where their own experience lies. Sometimes, a new VA isn`t really sure where they want to direct their energy; therefore, it takes some time to cultivate that to determine where they want to expend that energy.

    In my personal experience, I was a business manager for a cluster of radio stations in Florida. I dealt with sales on a daily basis. I did things from calculating commissions to fielding communications from them while they were on the road. Additionally, I had a client who traveled the country and we would keep in close contact via e-mail, Skype and phone -- I probably spent 10 hours a week with him. For me, dealing with sales staff in-house was much different than working with sales as a VA.

    I hope I was able to answer a few questions for you and I`m sure you will hear from others, but this is based on my own personal experiences thus far.

    Rebecca
    EliteVAs2006-11-2 8:44:38

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    Elite Virtual Assistants, "Combining Today`s Technology with Yesterday`s Professionalism," Elite VAs

  • June 10, 2009 4:21 AM EDT
    Since I am working as  virtual administrative assistant, I could not found a day when I stuck with my job and not able to help my wife or miss the baseball game with my kid.

    It is nice profile to work on as its give you extensive freedom and great time to enjoy your life.

    The Pay out is also good to have nice life...



    • 13 posts
    November 1, 2006 11:45 AM EST

    Hi - I`ve only been a VA for about 6 months and I have been amazed at the variety of tasks I have been able to perform for clients. Things that never occurred to me when I was setting up my business.

    I will say, I`m not sure I like being called a mompreneur! This is a career for me not just "extra" money so I can stay home with the kids. That perception needs to change!

     

    katelafrance2007-1-12 21:25:45
    • 13 posts
    November 1, 2006 11:57 AM EST

    HI - I have certain vacation weeks built into my contract. Also, I have only a few clients who require a set number of hours from me a week - so that leaves me with open time for myself or growing my business.

     

    • 13 posts
    November 1, 2006 12:02 PM EST

    Regarding "internet surfing, socializing, hour long lunches or frequent trips to the washroom." - I think you would have the same problem or even worse with a virtual assistant because you can`t even see them!

     

    GASP! MOST of the VA`s I know are neurotic about their time keeping records. I provide all of my clients a complete accounting along with my bills. As someone else said - no one knows how long it takes to perform a task like the person who used to do it. However, I do have a hard time with clients who can`t imagine why a complete from-scratch graphic design job takes as long as it does - but what are you going to do?

    • 13 posts
    November 1, 2006 12:08 PM EST

    Hello everyone,

    Virtual assistants look like an interesting possibility, could someone please answer the following:

    What are typical fees for a virtual assistant?

    Do VA`s juggle several businesses at once? If so how would they know which customer the incoming telephone call is for?

    Thanks

    It must be said that region determines the rate as well. I am in New England and do sub contracting for a VA in FL. My peers here tell me I am not getting paid enough - but I have seen the other VA`s website and my pay is more than fair for her market.

    I don`t handle clients` incoming calls either but could check for messages repeatedly during the day and respond promptly to them.

     

    • 13 posts
    November 2, 2006 2:03 AM EST

    I would make a clear distinction between a Virtual Assistant, and outsourcing the Receptionist function. ...
    Although many Administrative Assistants handle phones, very few Receptionists handle admin. work. Based on some work I`m currently doing, I would say the distinguishing factor is that an Administrative Assistant has a strong sense of business processes, and how individual tasks and project work directly relates to the overall function of the business itself.

    It`s not easy to provide hard evidence that someone can make the leap of knowledge as to how getting 50 binders put together by a certain time affects the overall business. A VA or Admin understands that connection between getting a proposal in on deadline and those binders. A clerk, receptionist, or "task-oriented" person who needs supervision generally only knows that if the binders aren`t completed, they`ll get a "bad mark" for the day.

    .... A good VA comes with a sophisticated understanding of business---being that they`re an independent business person themselves.

     Bless you Craig! You "get" it! Can I quote you in the future? Thank you.

     

    Katie LaFrance

    • 13 posts
    November 2, 2006 2:11 AM EST

    Some questions for the VAs - I look forward to your replies.

    Do any of  you specialize in assisting sales professionals? Such as sales reps that are on the road, in the field, all the time?

    If so, what is the average amount of time a week you assist each client? And, what would be an average weekly billing for one of these clients?

    Do any of you "specialize" in certain areas of business? I know many VAs do specialize their services - just wondering if any here at SuN do?

    Thanks and have a great day!

    R@

     

    Sales reps and VA`s are a natural combination. I would welcome the opportunity to work with one because their needs are straight forward and yet challenging. In my past I have worked as a sales coordinator supporting outside sales reps in the advertising field.

    Currently my client list is mostly "motivational" types who are marketing their own packages of success tips. Because of this my skills in graphic design and copy writing have come into play a great deal. Also the ability to search out addresses and contact names for mailing lists.

    My clients are all on 3-5 hour a week contracts at around $25-35 per hour.

    Thanks for asking.

    Katie LaFrance

    • 37 posts
    October 27, 2006 3:45 PM EDT

    This topic is coming at the perfect time.  My husband and I were just talking about this last night; me hiring a virtual assistant.

    I like the concept overall as I run my business from my home, but I cannot help but think that it may be easier to just do it myself than to contact my VA every time I need something ordered, reasearched, etc.  Not to mention that I`ve had the worst experiences with hiring independent contractors to do work for me who had stellar references and ended up leaving me with results way below expectations and contractual obligations. 

    I`m interested in hearing more about others` experiences with VAs.

    Cheers,

    Tammy

     

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    Tammy Graham, Founder & CEO, True Genius Apparel Company: fitting your personality; www.mytruegenius.com. "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

    • 37 posts
    October 29, 2006 8:33 AM EST

    Danielle and EliteVAs,

    Thank you both for your feedback. Danielle, I`ll read your article and research more into this virtual VA option.  I appreciate it.

    Cheers,

    Tammy

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    Tammy Graham, Founder & CEO, True Genius Apparel Company: fitting your personality; www.mytruegenius.com. "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

    • 10 posts
    January 12, 2009 1:34 AM EST
    GOOD DAY!

    I am new in virtual assistant ... and i want to have some ideas about it
    ... can You help me with it?

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    hI tHere...

    • 10 posts
    January 12, 2009 1:41 AM EST
    GOOD DAY!

    I am new in virtual assistant ... and i want to have some ideas about it
    ... can You help me with it?

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    hI tHere...

    • 10 posts
    January 14, 2009 12:29 AM EST
    Good Day Keycon


     I am new in virtual assistant staffing ... and I do not have much idea about it
    can you share some ideas about it...

    Thanks
    vastaffing

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    hI tHere...

    • 10 posts
    January 14, 2009 6:14 PM EST
    Thanks a lot Tawnya for the information...

    God bless... and more blessings for you...

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    hI tHere...

    • 10 posts
    January 14, 2009 8:03 PM EST
    Thanks Tawnya for the infromation...
    Can you give me other forum sites involving VA..

    Thanks Again Tawnya...

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    hI tHere...

    • 31 posts
    October 27, 2006 9:15 AM EDT

    Hi, all!  Just joined here (I`ll have to explore and find out where to post my introduction). As the founder of the Virtual Assistance Chamber of Commerce, I`m loving the lively conversation about Virtual Assistants.

    One of my jobs as the founder, and the role of our organization, is to help bring greater awareness and understanding to the business world about what Virtual Assistants are and how they can help business owners.

    Something I see a lot of is the confusion between an employee and a Virtual Assistant. It`s important to understand that VAs are not workers for a company per se, in that they are not employees. Virtual Assistants are professional service providers who specialize in the field of offiste administrative support. They are independent contractors who work in ongoing, collaborative partnership with clients. Our services are a strategic, convenient alternative to employees, and are usually the best fit for business owners who don`t have the time, space, budget or enough of a workload for an onsite employee.
     
    I would love to field any questions anyone has about Virtual Assistance and how a Virtual Assistant can improve the lot of the small business owner trying to grow their business and increase profitability.
     
    I`d also love to hear about what challenges the small business owner faces, especially those who are right now not currently supported well administratively. How many of you are currently doing all the administrative work in your business yourself? What work in your business takes up your time and distracts you from growth and revenue-generating activities?
    Danielle2006-10-27 20:24:57

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    Danielle Keister, The Relief Virtual Assistance
    Administrative Support Services for Business Consultants and PR Professionals | Founder, Virtual Assistance Chamber of Commerce